Cancelled Keystone XL pipeline may yield 48,000 tons of scrap steel


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The scrapping of Keystone XL not only means the end of multibillion-dollar pipe dream for TC Energy Corp. — it also leaves behind 48,000 tons of steel.

U.S. President Joe Biden revoked permits for the oil pipeline on his first day in office, killing a cross-border project that had won a four-year reprieve under his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. The pipeline would have spanned almost 1,900 kilometres (1,180 miles). TC Energy anticipated needing about 660,000 tons of steel just for the U.S. portion.

About 150 kilometres of pipe had been installed and an additional 2.2 kilometres had been completed at the Canada-U.S. border as of the end of 2020, the Canada Energy Regulator said in a Jan. 22 email. That would amount to nearly 48,000 tons of steel, assuming standard dimensions of line pipe, according to Bloomberg calculations based on industry criteria.

The benchmark steel price is about US$1,060 a ton, which would value the haul at almost US$51 million — though as scrap it would be sold for less. Secondary metal, which is any scrap that is already past use for its original purpose, sells at a discount to new forms of the raw material. Once sold, the scrap metal is remelted by the buyer and formed into new steel products.

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